Small (But Mighty) Weather Instruments - Nasa daily picture for December 22 (2021)

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The COWVR and TEMPEST instruments are in the trunk of a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft

The Compact Ocean Wind Vector Radiometer (COWVR) is no bigger than a minifridge. The Temporal Experiment for Storms and Tropical Systems (TEMPEST) is even smaller – about the size of a cereal box. Yet these two compact science instruments are designed to do a big job: to make the same high-quality atmospheric observations as weather satellites many times their size and at a fraction of the cost.

Built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, the two radiometers are part of the U.S. Air Force’s Space Test Program-Houston 8 (STP-H8). They launched aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021, on commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station as part of SpaceX’s 24th commercial resupply mission for the agency. They’re considered technology demonstrations, and if they perform as planned, weather forecasting could be in for a technological boost.

In this image, the COWVR and TEMPEST instruments are shown in the trunk of the cargo craft.

Learn more: 5 Things to Know About a Pair of Small But Mighty Weather Instruments

Image Credit: SpaceX



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